HELL ON EARTH by EdwinMartinez

This was taken in North Yellowstone National Park, one of the oldest national park in America. I was there on a photo safari/scouting trip. From day’s forecast, a thunderstorm was coming in from the west that afternoon and would clear in the night. I knew these particular moments would make for a colorful sunset, so we proceeded to the main terraces of Mammoth Hot springs. We got there with little sunlight as expected and huge storm clouds were starting to move from the west. Lightning was appearing from time to time so I opted to capture those first. As the minutes pass by, huge black clouds started rolling fast towards the east and I notice they were forming some unique shapes.

The rain started pouring; it didn’t stop me from photographing the scene, it was scary like a science fiction movie about the ends of the earth. At one point, I hesitated in going back the car. Nobody was left in the upper terraces except our group. Not only rain but also we had to worry about being struck by lightning. That afternoon went on like forever; in just a few hours I have experienced hail, lightning, double rainbows and a blazing sunset. Truly this image will speak about that rare moment where mammatus clouds and lightning are in one scene. Mammatus clouds are characterized by pouch-like protrusions hanging from the undersides of clouds, usually thunderstorm anvil clouds.

This photograph came from a single raw file out of the hundreds I took just to capture the lightning and cloud formation. I shot this at F16 aperture and iso 100 with shutter speed of 1.6, I used a 3 stop graduated neutral density to give more details to the sky. This was processed using adobe camera raw, increasing clarity and contrast for the sky and used the vibrance slider to increase the saturation a little. Exported to Adobe Photoshop and did a little dodge and burn to make some part of the clouds stand out.

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